Looking at the moves the Jets have made this offseason, one can get the opinion that this is a regime that is in its first year at the helm and cleaning house in a year that they can play with. We have seen it over and over again. A new regime comes in and cleans house with the understanding that this is just year one in their rebuilding plan. They are setting themselves up for the next offseason where they will have extra draft picks and salary cap room to build the team they think will get them on track to winning the Super Bowl.
What a minute…that isn’t the case with this regime. Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan are in their third offseason and are preparing for their third season as coach and GM. When both entered the scene in 2015, they had exactly what they needed to start a rebuild. John Idzik left the new regime $46 million in salary cap space to rebuild the roster, along with the 6th overall selection in the draft (and picks in every other round except the 6th).
So what happened? After finishing 10-6 and just missing the playoffs in 2015, the Jets took a major step backwards last year. Not only did the Jets record drop to 5-11, but the free agents that Mike Maccagnan used the salary cap space on were a huge part of why the team fell off so dramatically. Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kellen Davis, Marcus Gilchrist and Jarvis Jenkins have all been failures and are no longer on the roster.
Looking at the draft, only Leonard Williams has had any impact from the 13 draft picks that this regime has made. The jury is still out on 2016 1st round pick Darron Lee, but Maccagnan needs the 2017 draftees to make a major impact if he wants another draft class to pick from.
Do Maccagnan and Bowles know something that we don’t? Why are they so comfortable rebuilding this roster?
Looking at the shape of the Jets overall, I think the moves they are making are the right ones. The Jets are years away from being serious contenders and at this point, creating salary cap space and storing up high draft picks is the right decision.
However, why should Jets fans be confident that this regime can do this time what they failed to do before? Obviously with the moves the Jets have made this offseason (releasing Eric Decker, David Harris, Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold, Marcus Gilchrist, Darrelle Revis and trading 2014 1st Round draft pick Calvin Pryor) they don’t plan on contending. Again, while most around the NFL agree with these decisions, why should this regime be given another chance?
Looking at the history of this franchise, bringing in a new regime, while bringing initial success (each of the last 6 head coaches have finished with a winning record in their first season) has not led to sustained success. Only Bill Parcells, Herm Edwards and Rex Ryan had success after their initial season and only Herm Edwards reached the postseason in any season beyond their second season.
Last 6 Jets Head Coaches – First 3 Seasons with Team
- Todd Bowles 10-6 5-11 ?
- Rex Ryan 9-7 11-5 8-8
- Eric Mangini 10-6 4-12 9-7
- Herm Edwards 10-6 9-7 4-12
- Al Groh 9-7 x x
- Bill Parcells 9-7 12-4 8-8
The fact that Bowles and Maccagnan are so comfortable making moves to rebuild the team means that they have received a vote of confidence from Woody Johnson that no matter what their record this season they will have a few more years to right the ship. Do they deserve that? History shows us that this franchise hasn’t been patient with previous regimes when they fell back after initial success.
Looking at things objectively, I don’t think its a bad idea to give Bowles and Maccagnan another shot. Yes, the failed the first time through. However, even some of the greatest coaches and GMs failed a few times before getting it right. The Jets need look no further than their own division to see how Bill Belichick learned after his debacle with Cleveland.
On January 4th, 2000, the Jets held a press conference planning to announce Belichick as their new head coach. However, since the Jets ownership situation was still unsettled, Belichick decided he didn’t want to face that after the way his career ended in Cleveland when they moved to Baltimore. After the death of Leon Hess in May of 1999, the Jets ownership situation was not settled until January 18th when Woody Johnson purchased the team from Goldman Sachs, who had been hired to supervise the sale of the team.
Time will only tell what Woody Johnson plans to do with Bowles and Maccagnan after this season, but judging from past results, giving them another chance to rebuild this team might not be a bad idea.
This story was originally posted at rivalry-network.com.